Time to vote for out­stand­ing west coast mu­si­cians

The Oban Times - - Leisure -

SCOT­TISH ex­perts and busi­ness own­ers gath­ered in Oban to de­bate the ques­tion: ‘Has Scot­land got what it takes to be a global food tourism des­ti­na­tion?’

The cul­mi­na­tion or more than a year of de­tailed plan­ning - it was an event not to be missed, and even the jour­ney to the event packed in a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Flavour tours were ar­ranged for the day be­fore the main con­fer­ence to bring del­e­gates to Oban via food tourism busi­nesses.

One tour trav­elled from Glas­gow via the Glen­goyne Dis­tillery, Fyne Ales, Loch Fyne Oys­ters, In­ver­aray Cas­tle and Cor­rie Cook School.

An­other tour was themed on food and drink on the move and trav­elled from Stir­ling via the Wood­house Café near Kip­pen, Mhor 84 on the A84, The Real Food Café and then by train from Tyn­drum to Oban.

Food at the event in the Ar­gyll­shire Gath­er­ing Halls was pro­vided by Cal Mac Food from Ar­gyll and the team from Loch Melfort Ho­tel.

Pro­duce was sourced and supplied by pro­duc­ers, mainly from Ar­gyll, who pro­vided in­valu­able sup­port for the event. Sev­eral of the pro­duc­ers at­tended the event and were able to get first hand feed­back from the very en­thu­si­as­tic del­e­gates.

The feed­back from the con­fer­ence has been over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive and con­ver­sa­tion dur­ing the Wed­nes­day night din­ner were filled with ideas and plans.

High­lights of the day in­cluded pre­sen­ta­tions from two Ar­gyll pri­mary schools, Isle of Ulva and Strone, on food projects they have been work­ing on.

The Ulva pupils brought a Food Map of Mull and Iona with them which was much ad­mired. Strone pupils made, pack­aged and sold home bak­ing to del­e­gates at the breaks. Ev­ery­one ac­knowl­edged that get­ting the younger gen­er­a­tion mo­ti­vated to work in Food Tourism was cru­cial to its devel­op­ment.

Re­becca Macken­zie from the On­tario Culi­nary Al­liance pro­vided a wealth of ideas and in­spi­ra­tion while en­cour­ag­ing ev­ery­one with her en­thu­si­asm for what is cur­rently on of­fer in Scot­land.

Don­ald Reid from The List and Cate Devine from The Her­ald pro- vided in­sights into the role of food jour­nal­ism in an open de­bate that pro­vided good ad­vice.

Tom Lewis, from restau­rant and rooms Monachyle Mhor, en­ter­tained ev­ery­one at the din­ner telling the story of how his fam­ily busi­nesses had built up over the years and the blood, sweat and tears it took to achieve what they had now.

Stu­art Hendry of Glen­goyne, who treated del­e­gates to a per­sonal blend­ing ex­pe­ri­ence on the flavour tour ,en­cour­aged ev­ery­one at the din­ner to en­joy two drams, one suited to the cheese course and the other to the petit fours.

With this in­au­gu­ral event bring­ing two food and drink and tourism sec­tors into the same room, key phrases emerged to cap­ture the essence of the de­bate in­clud­ing:

Co-op­ti­tion – com­bin­ing com­pe­ti­tion and co-op­er­a­tion be­tween busi­nesses to achieve a com­mon goal.

Those who work alone can travel fast, but those who work to­gether can travel far.

Any­one with a cus­tomer fac­ing busi­ness in Scot­land is in the tourism sec­tor – tourism is ev­ery­one’s busi­ness.

A gala din­ner held in the Ar­gyll­shire Gath­er­ing Halls used fresh lo­cal pro­duce that wowed more than 150 peo­ple. The chef, Michael Knowles, took on a task

many thought be­yond the most ac­com­plished cook and ex­celled.

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